People often ask me why I do what I do. There are many reasons and most of them are so intrinsic that they are not easy to articulate. However, I recently had a visit from one of my oldest childhood friends and some answers came flooding in.
My childhood friend, Jill, and is a perfect example of an Alaskan who has always led her life as an individual. Our last year in high school (when most of our classmates were preparing for star roles on sports teams, and attending proms and graduation), Jill went to live in France. When Jill and her family recently moved outside of Alaska they didn't go someplace obvious or easy; they moved to Thailand. When Jill had a summer vacation to spend with her teenage son she didn't return to Alaska; she brought him out to travel through a number of East Coast U.S. cities until her husband can join them in Chicago.
This is why, on a recent Sunday morning, she made her way to my apartment in Upper Manhattan. After a good amount of catching up over coffee, we made our way to the park with my 5-year old son. Gradually we found ourselves on the soccer field kicking the ball around the wet grass. Jill was dressed for the city - high heeled sandals revealed beautifully painted toenails - but that didn't stop her from joining in. In midst of this she began pushing to get at the ball and laughingly cried, "I just pushed you!"
Then the memories came flooding back - Jill and I as the first (and only) two people in 2nd grade who could climb to the top of the rope and touch the gymnasium ceiling, Jill and I as the fastest runners in any 6th grade heat, and Jill and I climbing up on the high school roof to retrieve lost tennis balls. How can kids like that leave themselves behind in adulthood? Jill kept in touch with her inner youth as a Kindergarten teacher. I couldn't resist adding an aerial element to my choreography.
There are many things to leave behind in life - small towns, college life, late nights out on the town. Yet there are parts of us that we can never leave behind. Instead we redirect them and continue to nurture, cherish, and share that part of ourselves.
So come take a trapeze class, or see a show. You will find things to remember too.